Biographies

KIU HAGHIGHI* – Iranian (Santour)

Kiu Haghighi, known as a santour virtuoso in concert halls around the world, began his lifetime study of the santour at the age of ten. As a teenager he performed on the radio station of Mashad, Iran and the National Iranian Radio in Tehran, Iran. At nineteen he was invited to join the Iranian Ministry of Education and Art. There he performed as the featured soloist in the Academy Orchestra and performed regularly on National Iranian Television. Kiu was an instructor at the Ministry of Education and Art until 1965, when he left Iran for study in the United States. Kiu Haghighi’s musical career in North America has included numerous performances throughout the world in colleges, universities and concert halls. He has remained faithful to a desire to share classical Iranian music with western audiences.

Kiu’s work as both a performer and a composer on the santour combines and blends traditional Iranian forms with contemporary ones. A master of all the twelve melody types used as a basis for Iranian classical improvisation, Kiu has expanded the technical possibilities of the santour. His unusual speed in the movement of the leather-tipped mallets called mezrab is both well-known and extraordinary. Audience members have remarked at Haghighi’s new approach to the tradition of the Persian santour. They are intrigued by the new musical features, including novel musical ornaments and parallel melodies with unique musical dissonances. Audiences always remember the energy and vigor of expression of Kiu Haghighi brings to his musical performances.

HORACIO “EL NEGRO” HERNANDEZ – Cuban (Drums)

Grammy-Award winner Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez is recognized as one of the most talented drummers in the world today. Born in Havana, Cuba into a very musical family, he began studying with Fausto Garcia Rivera and Enrique Pla, the infamous percussionist of Irakere, whose members also included renowned Arturo Sandoval and Paquito Rivera. While attending the National School of Arts in Havana, he began playing with Saxophonist Nicolas Reynoso as well as for the EGREM Studio and Proyecto, led by pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Whether playing with jazz legends McCoy Tyner or Michel Camilo, preeminent rock stars Carlos Santana or Steve Winwood, or as a member of renowned Latin ensembles like Tito Puente’s Tropi-Jazz All Stars, El Negro has earned a strong reputation as one of the most prolific, powerful and versatile players on the current musical scene. Best known for his 1990 Grammy for Santana’s Supernatural, he has recorded over 60 CDs, collaborated with Michel Camilo on the Kip Hanrahan Deep Rumba Project and participated in The Back Room, a Cuban cultural project (1998-2005.)

HUMAYUN KHAN – Afghan-American (Vocals & Harmonium)

Originally from Afghanistan, Humayun’s family moved to Washington, DC, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980. Humayun grew up in a culturally-oriented family, an atmosphere rich with traditional music and literature. He began studying Indian classical music from Shuba Sankaran in 1990, and after receiving an Apprenticeship Grant from the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities, extended his vocal music studies with her until 1992. He then traveled to Calcutta, India to began formal training in classical vocal music under Ustad Vilayat Khan, considered to be the most influential sitarist of his generation. Vilayat Khan is credited with the introduction of the gayaki (vocal) style into instrumental music, which brought to the sitar the subtleties and expressiveness of the classical vocal tradition. In 1995, Humayun began receiving additional guidance from the senior Pakistani artist, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, developing his own versatile performance style, ranging from purely classical khayal renditions to a classically oriented presentation of the poetry of great Persian masters, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi and Hafiz.

With his unique style and mastery of qawwali music, Humayn has graced the stages of the Asilah International Festival in Morocco, the Library of Congress in the Neptune Plaza Series and the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institute with PROBE as well as the Rumi Festival in Chapel Hill, NC, to mention a few. No stranger to the Kennedy Center, where he has performed numerous times, he is perhaps, most well reputed for his series of Concerts for Peace following the horrors of September 11th. He has provided instrumental accompaniment for live performances in Eastern Europe with both Ustad Vilayat Khan and Ustad Zakir Husain, and CD recordings by Mashkoor Ali Khan and Ustad Rashid Khan on the AIM Record label. He performed the instrumental music for the soundtrack of the Mira Nair feature film, Kama Sutra, and sang for the award-winning BBC radio feature, Monsoon, subsequently broadcast throughout the US in abridged form by NPR in 1999. He was proclaimed, Best Rising Star of Afghan music by Taranasaz, the renowned singer-songwriter of Afghanistan.

JEAN-CHRISTOPHE LEROY* – French Canadian (Percussion)

Jean-Christophe is an experienced and versatile percussionist/drummer who specializes in Cuban, West African, Brazilian and other afro-Caribbean styles of music. He also enjoys adapting these styles to compliment western musical settings as well as adapting the rhythms to the drumset. He has been a freelance performer and educator since 1992 and has worked in various parts of Canada, the U.S. and Ecuador. He has performed with artists having musical backgrounds including African, Cuban, jazz, funk, and show band. The venues include arts festivals, clubs, theatre productions and the recording studio. His extensive experience in music with dance includes performing, directing, and recording for several large productions. He has also provided live and recorded accompaniment for many African, Cuban, Modern, Tap, Jazz and funk dance classes. Firmly committed to arts-education, Jean has taught courses and given workshops at universities, public schools, music conservatories and music stores and teaches private and group lessons on a regular basis. He has studied-and continues to study- various styles of music from around the world with masters of their respective idioms, including Madou Kante, N’Goma N’Dao, Changuito, Anga Diaz, Bobby Sanabria, Clint Gillespie and Dr. Glenn Price. After years of dedication, Jean has enjoyed playing alongside some of his teachers such as Isreal “Toto” Beriel, Chuchito and Emilio Valdez, Ernie Adams, and others.

HOWARD LEVY* –American (Harmonica & Piano)

Howard Levy is a musician without limits. His musical adventures include journeys into jazz, pop, rock, world music, Latin, classical, folk, blues, country, theater, and film. He has appeared on hundred of CD’s, won a Grammy (1997), won a Joseph Jefferson Award (1986) for Best Original Music for a Play, and has performed many times on American and European television and radio. Universally acknowledged as the world’s most advanced diatonic harmonica player, Howard developed a fully chromatic style on the standard 10 – hole diatonic harmonica, revolutionizing harmonica playing and taking the instrument into totally new territory. He is also an accomplished pianist and composer, and plays many other instruments as well, including flute, ocarina, mandolin, saxophone, and percussion.

Howard was a founding member of the Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. He toured and recorded two albums with Kenny Loggins, and formed Trio Globo with Eugene Friesen and Glen Velez. Howard has also performed and/or recorded with Dolly Parton, Styx, Bobby McFerrin, Paul Simon, John Prine, Paquito D’Rivera, Ken Nordine, and many others, as well as touring and recording extensively in Europe with artists such as Rabih Abou Khalil and Michael Riessler. Recent Highlights. In 2003, Howard released a jazz duo cd with Naumberg Award-winning pianist Anthony Molinaro, entitled The Molinaro/Levy Project “Live”. In 2002, he performed “On the Other Side…” (a triple concerto composed for him, a clarinetist and an accordianist) with The Bavarian State Radio Orchestra in Munich, Germany. In 2001, Howard was commissioned by The Illinois Philharmonic to compose a Harmonica Concerto, the first ever written for diatonic harmonica. Since the debut, he has performed it 9 times, with more performances scheduled. He has performed as a guest artist for Genesis at the Crossroads’ performances since 2000.

VICTOR MIRANDA – Cuban (Bass)

Cuban-born and raised, Victor Miranda completed studies in classical guitar and took his unbridled passion to professionally playing bass the world over. Victor has graced stages internationally on tour with the prestigious Orchestra Aragon as well as some of Cuba’s top level musicians, including Orlando Maraca Valle, Giovanny Hidalgo and many others. In 2002 along with Maraca y Otra Vision, Victor’s album, Tremenda Rumba received a Grammy nomination. Since moving to the United States, Victor has toured extensively with guitar virtuoso Al Dimeola and recorded with both Dimeola on his latest CD, Consequence of Chaos, and other esteemed artists, Chick Corea, John Patitucci and Steve Gadd.

ALBERTO MIZRAHI* – Greek-American (Vocals)

Greek-born tenor, Alberto Mizrahi, one of the world’s leading interpreters of Jewish music, is Hazzan of the historic Anshe Emet Synagogue, Chicago. He has thrilled audiences worldwide in recitals, symphony concerts, and operatic performances. Affectionately dubbed the “Jewish Pavarotti,” Mizrahi’s repertoire, spanning nine languages, makes his performances unique in the field. He is featured in the PBS gala USA/Europe televised performance of CANTORS: a Faith in Song, from the Spanish Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam, as well as with the legendary jazz pianist, Dave Brubeck, and his quartet, in Gates of Justice, recorded for the Milken Archive.

Mizrahi recently performed KAVANAH: Tradition and Transformation, a seven city Modern Music tour throughout The Netherlands, built around him by the Korzo Theater, The Hague. He also sang concerts in; Geneva, Switzerland with the Gerard Edery Ensemble, Los Angeles with the Philharmonic (Disney Theater), Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Center, Miami’s Bet Shirah Congregation, Birmingham, Alabama (Temple Beth-El), Temple Israel, NYC with Theo Bikel, Highland Park, NJ, and Ahavath Achim, Atlanta. Highlights of some more recent performances include Encino, CA (Cantor Hershel Fox 25th at Valley Beth Shalom,) Omaha, NE (Beth El), Tel Aviv (with YUVAL), Krakow Jewish Festival, Hava Nashira Festival, and the North American Jewish Choral Festival.

Alberto’s extensive discography includes six CD’s for the Milken Archive on Naxos, and his latest recording projects include Anshe Emet Live, Bikel & Mizrahi: Our Song, and Alberto’s World. In October 2007 he will record Mizrahi in Concert with the Menuhin School Orchestra, in London and The Art of the Cantor (orchestra and location – TBA.)

An embarrassment of riches, Mizrahi’s concert highlights include: Neve Shalom Synagogue, Istanbul, Turkey, Krakow Jewish Culture Festival 2006, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, Berkeley JCC Jewish Music Festival, CANTORS WORLD “Koussevitzky Concert,” Alice Tully Hall, NY; Spitalfields Festival in London; World Litvak Congress, Vilnius, Lithuania; 60th Anniversary of the Liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto, Lodz, Poland; with the Gerard Edery Ensemble and The Sons of Sepharad, throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. Alberto has also sung with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Radio Television Orchestra of Spain, New York Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, N.D.R. Symphony, Hanover, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, Pacific Symphony, L. A. Jewish Symphony,Washington Choral Arts Society at the Kennedy Center, D.C, Lithuanian National Symphony and Sinfonia Warsawia. Hazzan Mizrahi is an officer of the Cantors Assembly, on the Board of the Zamir Choral Foundation and Advisory Board of Genesis at the Crossroads. He has performed for some of Genesis at the Crossroad’s programs since 2000. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Deborah.

KALYAN PATHAK* – Indian/American (Tabla, Drumset and Percussion)

Lauded as Fleet Finger Virtuosity by Chicago Tribune Critic, Howard Reich, Kalyan Pathak brings his wealth of multi-cultural experiences to his musicianship, drumming, percussion and composition. Born in Ahmedabad, India, from ages 9 until 15, he was formally trained in Classical North Indian Tabla by Ustad Kader Khan and Ustad Rehman Khan. He later apprenticed with the most prominent drummer and composer, Ranjit Barot, who in the mid 1980’s brought teenaged Kalyan to Bombay. While devoting himself to playing western drumset, Kalyan concurrently did regular session work with the prestigious Lakshmikant Pyarelal Orchestra and Louis Banks Band, and toured all over India playing with various jazz and rock bands.

Kalyan came to Chicago in 1991 on a full scholarship from Roosevelt University where he received a BA degree in Music/Jazz studies with honors. He went on to study African, Afro-Cuban, Latin and Middle Eastern genres of percussion with various masters in the United States.
Since moving to the US, Kalyan has become one of the most sought-after virtuoso Tabla and multi-ethnic percussionists in the country, and has performed, collaborated and toured with many international artists in jazz, classical and jam band music scenes, including Aretha Franklin and Regis Philbin. He appeared as a soloist with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Ballet and was a collaborative group member with Fareed Haque Group, Howard Levy, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Pacifica String Quartet, Theodore Bikel, Alberto Mizrahi, Steve Kimock, and many others.

Kalyan’s vibrant energy and innovative concepts have contributed to numerous collaborations and recording projects, where he can be heard playing Tabla, drumset and percussion along with his unique vocals. Recent projects include recordings with his own group Jazz Mata, composing and performing jazz big band composition for Holiday Music of Silk Road for Midwest Young Artists and Chicago Silk Road Project, the musical score for the Contemporary American Theater Festival, as well as for numerous national tours with the Fareed Haque Group, in addition to tours of Germany, Switzerland and Brazil on a variety of musical projects.

Kalyan is a lifelong educator, having delivered clinics and classes in India, United States, Europe, and Latin America. In Chicago, he has given classes for the International Music Foundation and has performed educational shows for over 100,000 Chicago public school students. He is faculty at Merit School of Music, Chicago, as well as, a Paiste Cymbals Artist Endorsee.

HAYTHAM SAFIA* – Israeli-Arab (Oud)

Safia’s music colorfully sources itself from his rich cultural past: He was born and raised in the Village of Kafr Kasif in Israel’s Northern Galilee, an area strongly influenced by its diverse multi-cultural and multi-ethnic population comprised of Christians, Druise, and Muslims. A versatile and adventurous musician, Safia graduated from the Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem in 2002. He turned to Europe, in particular, The Netherlands, for cross-cultural challenges, which included successful collaborations with the multinational band No Blues to produce the CDs, Farewell Shalabiya, Ya Dunya, Lumen and Hel Hela.

Safia has released eight CDs in total thus far, including Promises (2007) created with three fellow multi-disciplinary artists to produce a stunning album full of emotion ranging from contemplative to exuberant, and jarring to playful instrumentation. Safia has also worked with two classically-trained musicians from Amsterdam (Cellist Eva van de Poll and Oboe player Hanneke Ramselan) as well as the gifted Iranian percussionist, Afra Mussawisada, to produce a mellifluous and riveting collaboration. Similarly, his previous release, Blossom, unites nine artists from nine different nations in a cross-cultural exchange.

Safia’s oud-playing is known for both its precision and experimentation, particularly with Ramselan’s oboe, in songs like Moments of Relief, or the percussion duet Path to the Roots. Influenced by the gentle instrumental exchange of Tunisian Anouar Brahim’s, his unique combination of classical Western and Eastern instrumentation blends beautifully in a playful musically- styled “conversation,” Answering Nature’s Call. Haytham Safia has long established himself as a talented composer with a well-full of innovative ideas. Voice of the Desert on the Promises release stands out for its power and harmony, exemplifying his gift for composition. His latest quartet, an example of his foray into novel cross-cultural music, incorporates Oriental rhythms while respecting classical Western components. He contrasts that with Having Fun, a racy jazz-inflected jaunt.

Three years following his debut in the Netherlands, Safia created a well-admired solo album, OUD, which offers traditional Arab oud phrasing alongside magical Maqams, his unique trademark which re-interprets much of the traditional melodic oud repertoire. His oud improvisatory passages (Taqasim,) exquisitely produced, are further embellished with his meditative signature. His revelatory Nahawand track immerses audiences in a brilliant transcendent state. With a true contemporary and progressive approach to the oud, Safia playfully manipulates recurring themes, underscoring traditional opening and ending phrasing.

HAJ YOUNESS – Moroccan (Oud)

From the great halls of the Smithsonian, to the Royal Court of Indonesia, and the Cairo Opera House, Haj Youness, showcased through the strings of his oud, presents both sacred sensitivity and soul-stirring sounds. Born in Casablanca in 1949, Haj Youness is one the most accomplished oud virtuosos, renowned for delighting audiences worldwide. A disciple of the Turkish scholar, Jamil Bik Tambouri, Youness conducted research that singled him out for his unique instrumental interpretation, supplementing traditional oud music. In his capacity as Dean of the Casablanca Music Conservatory, Africa’s largest conservatory, he shares his talent with young musicians numbering in excess of 5000 international students each year.

His exceptional talent won him the late King Hassan II’s attention and the Golden Luth (Oud) Award in 1983. He was designated with the high honor of Composer at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Both the United Nations and the International Royal Academy awarded Youness the 2000 International Peace Award for Culture. Most recently UNESCO honored him as well. In 2004, after a mesmerizing concert at the Smithsonian, the Peace Corps’ Friends of Morocco and the Washington Club bestowed upon him the title of Moroccan Ambassador for the Arts to the United States of America.

He will collaborate with the others to present works highlighting the Moroccan, Arabic, Judaic and sub-Saharan roots of contemporary Moroccan music in addition to that which is centuries’ old from Andalucia (Southern Spain,) some of which were originally composed by him. Finally he will indulge us with pieces which explore the origins of Flamenco music and that which we commonly ascribe to South America which actually originated out of Andalucia.

Guest Artists

HAROON ALAM

Haroon Alam, a tabla disciple of the great maestro Ustad Tari Khan, has been playing tabla for the past 20 years. He performs in the DC-metropolitan area on a regular basis and has had the privilege of playing with some well-known Indian and Pakistani artists. Notable performance venues include The Kennedy Center, The Smithsonian Free Arts Gallery, and The Stone in NYC.

SAIDA CHARAF

Often referred to as the Sahraoui Diva (Saharan Diva,) Saida’s magnificent voice continues to brighten the African skies. She shined most notably in her past performance as lead vocalist for UNESCO’s Water for Life concert by Jean Michel Jarre, especially in the piece, Assahratou Lakoum. A native of Laayoune, she holds a degree in Arabic literature.

HAMID EL KASRI

Born in 1961, Hamid El Kasri began exploring the Gnaoua sufi music at seven years of age under the guidance of his Grandfather, a Sudanese slave who brought with him an uncommon mastery of this spiritual genre. With a powerful and lucid voice coupled with his astonishing artistic range, Kasri flawlessly marries the musical tones of the North with the religious sounds of the South. Kasri has become one of Morocco’s most outstanding Gnaoua vocalists, and as in centuries past, has trained his 13 year-old Daughter in this ancient musical tradition.

SAAD LAMJARRED

Gifted with an exceptional voice and musical depth, Saad finished second in the 2007 Arab Super Idol competition outranking thousands of other youth. Dubbed the Julio Iglesias of the Arab world for his signature style, tour-de-force performances, he graced the stage of the Super Idol competition’s grand finale. He recently recorded his first album.

MAESTRO HANY MEHANNA

One of the most notorious composers and performers of the Arab world, The Cairo Opera House recognized Mehana with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 16th Arab Music Festival just two weeks ago. His extensive artistic record includes numerous musical compositions not only for major singers in the Arab world, but also for 88 motion pictures and 34 television series.

PETER YARROW* (Peter, Paul and Mary) Guest Artist – September 2011

Peter Yarrow’s commitment and life’s work have been framed by his awareness that music of conscience can be extremely effective as part of affirmative social and political efforts. As a performer and social activist, Peter has used music in just this way – both inspiring and bringing people together to create a just, peaceful and compassionate society. Through such efforts beginning in the early 1960s, the music of Peter, Paul and Mary became, for literally millions of people, the genesis of their personal activism and life-long commitment to advancing positive societal change. Peter commits his time and talent to issues including equal rights, peace, the environment, gender equality, homelessness, hospice care and education. Peter’s gift for songwriting has produced some of the most memorable songs in music history including Puff, the Magic Dragon; Day is Done, Light One Candle and The Great Mandala. Peter is committed artist and soul to his foundation Operation Respect’s effort “Don’t Laugh at Me” (DLAM) – a project based on his passionate belief that the power of music to build community and be a catalyst for change can also be a powerful educational tool and source of inspiration for children and educators alike.

COMPOSER FOR OUR MOROCCAN TOUR: SAID EL AZIZI EL ALAOUI

Maitre El Alaoui, a native of Casablanca won the prestigious Premier Prix de Violon from the Casablanca Conservatory of Music, prior to assuming the Director of Casablanca’s Cultural Center of Sidi Belyout. He also served as Professor of Violin at the conservatory, and lead violinist for the Casablanca Symphony Orchestra as well as the Amana Orchestra. He toured extensively and headlined in major festivals in France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Tunisia, Algeria, Peru and the US. In 2002 he also wrote the score for What a Wonderful Life and was hired by Jean Michel Jarre, the legendary French musician and composer to compose the arrangements for his landmark Water for Life concert held in the Saharan desert to benefit UNESCO. (Live audience of 30,000+ , worldwide broadcast to millions, 60 million albums sold)

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: HOWARD LEVY (Please see above)

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & ENSEMBLE FOUNDER: WENDY STERNBERG, MD*

Wendy is the creative engine behind GATC’s mission and vision. She designed all programs to date and oversees production and implementation of performance/artistic programs, arts-education and humanitarian initiatives worldwide. She developed the current Executive and Advisory Boards as well as the developing Youth Board and currently conducts search efforts to bring in new board members and staff. As the consummate networker who facilitates all local, national and international community partnerships and global outreach, she masterminds and oversees all organizational development, including business plans and sustainability/strategic plans with the aid of consultants. Sternberg is responsible for branding of GATC and its relevant communications, integrating the efforts of GATC’s public relations firm, graphic and web designers, documentary filmmaker, photographer and information technology team’s social networks. She develops and coordinates the research team for the Genesis Academy for Global Leadership and speaks on behalf of GATC at local, national and international symposia. A participant in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), she created a CGI commitment to build the Genesis Academy as a scalable global model for peace education.

Under her leadership, Genesis boasts over 100 award-winning programs, internationally-acclaimed by the United Nations, The Kennedy Center, Rotary International, The King of Morocco and the US Department of State. For her work on GATC, Wendy has been featured numerous times as a guest on WBEZ/NPR, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and UN Radio, appeared as a guest on CBS, ABC 7 & Channel 5 News Chicago and has been the subject of numerous articles from The Chicago Tribune, to The LA Times and The Bangkok Post. Rotary International selected her as one of 22 world leaders for their 2009 Peace Fellowship at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. She was featured as a Woman to Watch in Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine and named one of the 10 Jewish Chicagoans of the Year as well as a 2011 Charles Bronfman Prize Nominee. In 2014, marking the 100th anniversary of World War I, she was selected along with 59 other global activists to be a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow and participate in an international consortium on the transformational power of arts and culture to shape our society worldwide.

Sternberg practiced primary care internal medicine for 20 years and was Teaching Faculty at Northwestern University Medical School for 14 years. She is a medical consultant for domestic and international health initiatives impacting conflict zones and intractable global health issues. In 2014, she was named the Founding Director of the Division of Peace-building at the UCSD School of Medicine Center for Mindfulness. Her medical career informs the healing aspects at the heart of Genesis at the Crossroads’ global efforts.

FUTURE GUEST ARTISTS:

Badi Assad – Lebanese-Brazilian Vocalist
Hazaan Aaron Bensoussan – Moroccan Vocalist and Oud Birtuoso
Alex Kauffman- Russian Violinist and Pianist
Morikeba Koyate – Senegalese Kora Player

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